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SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

Sharpness 
 9.4
Aberrations 
 9.2
Bokeh 
 9.3
Autofocus 
 8.7
Handling 
 9.3
Value 
 9.2
Reviews Views Date of last review
54 250,148 Fri June 9, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $1,218.36 9.60
SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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Description:
Like all current DA lenses, the SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm is designed only for Pentax DSLR cameras. It was announced in late February, 2007. It auto-focuses with an SDM ultrasonic motor on the K10D (firmware 1.30) and newer cameras. On older cameras the lens will auto-focus with the 'screw drive' mechanism.

SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
15 elements, 13 groups
Mount Variant
KAF2
Max. Aperture
F4
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor or screwdrive)
SDM
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
110 cm
Max. Magnification
0.15x
Filter Size
67 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 26.5-6.5 ° / 23-5.5 °
Hood
PH-RBK 67 mm
Case
S100-200
Lens Cap
O-LC67
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (AW)
Other Features
AF/MF Switch,Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
81 x 168 mm (3.2 x 6.6 in.)
Weight
1040 g (36.7 oz.)
Production Years
2007 to Present
Pricing
$1014 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA* 1:4 60-250mm ED [IF] SDM
Product Code
21750
Notes
Two ED elements.

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusSupersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 28

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open, weather sealing, well dampened focusing
Cons: Minor green tinged bokeh CA and PF wide open
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k-30   

My copy is Ricoh branded for those interested. And I guess I got a good copy because it is sharp from 4.0 at all focal lengths that I have used so far. It did front focus rather badly at first but I was able to dial in enough fine adjustment and now it's spot on. I have not seen any decentering problems or other obvious issues so I decided it was a keeper in spite of the front-focus issue.

There is some green tinged bokeh CA and PF wide open in very high contrast areas, but it's not really bothersome unless you pixel peep, and using DXO Pro cleans up most of it nicely. I do find the bokeh very pleasant for a zoom.

I have also used it in driving snow it and performed flawlessly, with the hood providing great protection for the front element.

Also of note is the very nicely designed tripod collar which can also be used to brace the lens when hand holding.

Now if only it was cheaper...
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 293

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 6, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Quiet, Specs, Build
Cons: Weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5, K7   

This is, first of all, a unique lens. No other manufacturer really has anything to compare to it, especially optimized for cropped sensors. f4 all the way, and a wider range than the usual 70-200 lenses for full-frame.

The build and feel for what it is are really top notch. The tripod mount is better than anything out there. It easily attaches from the bottom only, with the lens attached to the body, and is lighter than a full ring. You pay over $200 for ring mounts which aren't included with Canon and Nikon f4 zooms!

I've compared this lens to my DA55-300 which is a good lens, and more subjectively to previous tele zooms like the excellent Sony 70-300G and 200mm f/2.8 prime. This Pentax is up there with the best of them. I notice that at long distances in the 200mm + range, the centre of the 60-250 is sharper than the 55-300 and significantly sharper at the edges and corners. There's richer contrast and what I'll call smoother transitions and feel to the image. Same thing at shorter distances but especially noticeable at the long end which is really where you're putting your money on this lens. One would hope this to be the case for the price difference. It's clearly there.

Is it hand-holdable? many ask, including me before I got one. Possibly. I think it's at the edge of what you'd want to walk around with for long periods. I think if you have a grip on your K5, it would be better balanced but it gets a bit front-heavy with a sans-grip Pentax body. But I've walked around with it in my hand for extended periods and it's not too bad. Certainly hand-holdable for shooting with enough light. It's not like a whopping 70-200 f/2.8. I used it with a monopod and that was a nice combo. It packs nicely in a sling pack for example and you can pull it out with one hand and shoot.

The AF is certainly quiet and probably about as fast as what Pentax makes. Not Canon fast, but nothing in Pentax is. I can't really add much to the enthusiasm of other owners. And I can't really see what the benefit would be of the 300/f4 over this lens, but that's just me.

I guess I'll focus on the upgrade question. If you want the best zoom going for Pentax, and can stand a fairly hefty lens in your hand, this is the one to get. At full prices, it hurts. If you can find a good used one or a sale on a new one, then it's a really good value. Bottom line, you'll notice a clear upgrade over your 55-300 in every way from build to AF to picture quality. I like how Pentax chose the specs on this lens.
   
New Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Copenhagen
Posts: 21
Lens Review Date: September 9, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing image quality
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

The SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm 4.0 ED [IF] SDM is a masterpiece!

Never in the field of Pentax photography was so much owed by so many Pentax photographers to so few Pentax lens manufacturers for a lens of this caliber!

Perhaps the DA* 60- 250mm 4.0 is only one small step for Pentax, but it certainly enables a giant leap into the field of photography for Pentax photographers.

It is in every way equal to - and often better - than lenses with comparable fixed focal length.

Thank you Pentax for this magnificent piece of craftsmanship!
   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Ocean City MD
Posts: 94

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The right mm for me.
Cons: Non
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

I think 60-250mm is the best size for everyone.

Pretty silly I think, but the previous review was just as silly.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2013
Posts: 11

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent all round telephoto!!
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-r   

I switched back to Pentax from the dark side when I on a whim picked up a new K-r body for $350 AU earlier this year. After using a 50D + 70-200 2.8L I expected a fair bit out of my equipment. I wanted a smaller overall package as I found I was leaving the gear in the car or at home because it was so heavy. The 60-250 and K-r fit this perfectly! Although I see a K50 on the horizon

I am definitely am of the opinion of using as much of your money on lenses which is why after narrowing it down to the 300 F4 and the 60-250 I went with the latter, and boy am I glad.

I use it mainly for aviation photography and whilst some may say 250 is short for aviation I find it more than enough at my local ports, and with the combo producing great sharp images I can crop if I find the need to.

Sharpness right through is excellent, the build quality as good as L series or Nikon equivalent. Aberrations appear quite well controlled, as does fringing - although primarily shooting aircraft it is going to be negligible anyway.

I find the only thing to give me a slight issue is the small zoom ring which is a little difficult to turn, not just because of its proximity to the camera body but on my copy it is quite stiff, but as I use it more it is getting smoother.

I thoroughly recommend this gem, and it fits a nice niche in the Pentax lens lineup.
   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2010
Posts: 91

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 11, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing image quality for a zoom lens, well built, WR, versatile range
Cons: somewhat bigger and heavier than I'd like
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

I was choosing between DA*200, 300, 60-250 and FA*300/4.5. At the end I chose the 60-250 for versatility it provides and comparing prices on other items.

Here is my short review.

1. Handling
It appeared slightly bigger than I would like but not so heavy as I imagined. It was easily manageable hand-hold, even zoomed at 250mm. All in all, it handles nicely but I have two minor complains.
a) While I found mounting lens hood in normal position an easy process that can be done 'blindly' and quickly I always struggled with reverse mounting it to pack the camera back into the photo bag. Somehow it always tended not to lock in place.
b) I always touched zoom ring while mounting lens on and off the camera: not enough place for my hands to grip it near mount.

2. Build quality.
It is a well-built lens that feels solid and imposes feelings of a thing that could be used daily for many years ahead. No lens creep noticed. Zoom and focusing rings move with adequate amount of resistance. I even prefer manual focusing on that lens to FA 31 which focusing ring feels not enough dumped, though the focusing throw somewhat short to be truly excellent.
The only downside I found is very slight wobbling of inner tube when zoomed at 250mm, though even 16-50 I once had was worse at that, not to mention some superzoom lenses I tried.

3. Image quality
- Absolutely amazing for a zoom lens. Wide open it is extremely sharp at 60mm and very good at 250mm. I didn't hesitate to shoot wide open and stopped down mostly when I needed more DOF or longer exposure. Colors and overlall impression somewhat resembles 16-50 at 50mm (which I really liked) .

My intention for tele lens was to take pictures of distant objects, such as mountains, and the lens hadn't let me down in this respect:

IMGP7526 by disya2, on Flickr


IMGP7361 by disya2, on Flickr

I also found it excellent for close-up photos

IMGP7380 by disya2, on Flickr

Background blur looks like if painted with brushes

IMGP7618 by disya2, on Flickr

and the luminous spots at background become pleasantly-looking circles at f/4

IMGP7629 by disya2, on Flickr

though edges are clearly visible when stopped down

IMGP7516 by disya2, on Flickr

I'm more than satisfied with the lens, though for wildlife (which was also on my check-list) one needs something longer

IMGP7596 by disya2, on Flickr

I'm looking forward to the TC on roadmap. Hope they release it soon. I believe both combined will provide me absolutely everything I need from a tele lens.
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2013
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: July 14, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp & Bokeh.
Cons: Heavy.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5II   

Had this lens for over a month now, shot hundreds of photos, and am blown away with the sharpness and bokeh. AF could be faster, but thats only a minor point, its worth every penny. I have some lovely wildlife shots, it lives on my K-5II all the time.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 1,007

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 28, 2013 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $1,396.95 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Very sharp throughout the zoom range. Very good build quality. Well-designed tripod collar.
Cons: Relatively expensive. Slow and unreliable autofocus. Short focus ring travel.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 4    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-3 II   

After several years with as many as five different copies of this lens, including for college sports photography, I am going to have to say that I'm disappointed with the way the AF mechanism is designed on the DA* 60-250mm. It's a shame for me to have to write this because this lens is optically stellar and has always given me very pleasing output (when it works properly, of course).

The most recent replacement unit from about a year ago originally worked fine, but in recent months has been increasingly unreliable. The autofocus mechanism seemed to be suffering from an abormal amount of internal friction, and would sometimes jam up altogether (even manual focusing would not turn the focus position) until the lens is unmounted. It also sometimes takes several tenths of a second for the AF motor to start moving, with a characteristic squeak noise; this can cause fine adjustments during the final steps of the AF process to take a very long time, up to several seconds. The result is that the lens cannot reliably focus on fast-moving subjects, whether it's in a basketball court or on a soccer field.

Apparently, the way the hybrid screwdrive/SDM Quick-Shift Focus System mechanism is designed can cause the screwdrive part of the mechanism to jam normal movement and apply an excessive amount of friction to the focusing cams. The problem has gotten to the point where I cannot rely on the lens for serious, professional usage.

I am replacing this with the D FA* 70-200mm lens, which should have none of these issues as it does not have screwdrive AF support and uses a completely different type of AF motor which is known to be very reliable.

Original review follows.



This lens is incredibly sharp throughout the zoom range. Even at 250mm, where there is a small amount of softness wide open, the lens produces razor-sharp output at f/5.6. Chromatic aberration is virtually absent, a big revelation compared to the usual consumer-grade zoom lenses. The lens handles well despite its weight, and the design of the tripod collar is very clever, allowing rotation of the lens and body from landscape to portrait and vice versa while mounted on a tripod or monopod. The build quality is excellent, with a solid combination of metal and high-quality plastics, with full weather sealing throughout. The SDM is virtually silent, and while it is not particularly fast, it is definitely adequate for me.

The focus ring does have short travel, only about 65 degrees, which can make it difficult to manually focus accurately. It's also expensive, at some US$1400, but I would say that it's worth it when you compare it to similar options from C&N.

In the end, this is an excellent professional-grade lens for sports and wildlife photographers.
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2013
Location: Zhukovsky, Russian Federation
Posts: 91
Lens Review Date: June 4, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,840.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, autofocus, WR, handling, build quality, universal focusing range for crop
Cons: None, except little CA at 250mm
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

A great lens for all kind of photography usual for tele lens: sports, street portraits, animals, astro, landscape, genre. It's very sharp through the whole focusing range, and it's very sharp and vivid across the frame. No vignetting, excellent back- and side-light protection. Fast focus.

Having thoroughly used this lens for about a year I haven't found any flaws. Even autofocus, which is not a Pentax advantage, works good enough for motocross, car races, alpine and other fast sports.

A little CA occured at 250mm with backlight.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,307.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: optic, beautiful shape, I like the 1020g, feel good
Cons: just a little big
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k5   

very good lens

60-250 is more useful than 70-210

67mm filter is better than 58mm or 77mm

I use a 67mm close-up lens to it, you can know, it behave just like the FA*200 f4 macro ED [IF] in some level (max to 1:1.6).
   
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Boise Idaho
Posts: 466

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 14, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: AF, IQ, Range, Handling
Cons: Lowlight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

Killer lens. It's my go-to lens.
(image at 250mm)

(250mm 1:1 edited and sharpened) (photoshop smart sharpen %100 and .4)






   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Posts: 5,430

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: zoom range, WR, build quality
Cons: minimum focal distance, size at 250mm
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

I had very high expectations from this lens, but the bottom line is I preferred my Sigma 70-200 in every respect apart from the weather resistance.
It is *huge* when fully extended, and it looks kinda silly (not that that should be a deciding factor).
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: In the boonies (NW Penna)
Posts: 5,670

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 3, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,219.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Stunning IQ for a zoom
Cons: Price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

This lens really surprised me. I always do tons of research before buying a lens and especially for an expensive one like this.

I started out with a DA 55-300 Pentax lens and was quite happy with it. In the right conditions it really is a good performer. But, I always had my eye on the DA* 60-250 as the ultimate zoom in this range. It took me months of reading everything I could fine plus look at every image available. I knew I wanted it, but the price was out of my range.

Finally over the winter, I decided to start saving up for it plus knew I could sell my 55-300 to help pay for it. Finally, in the last week of March 2012, I pulled the trigger. I was very fortunate since that 5 days later, the price of the lens went to $2000.00 overnight.

This was my first DA* lens, and it is everything that the DA* line is supposed to be. Very well built and feels good in your hands. This was also my first SDM lens, and it was such a treat to hear (or not hear) the focus motor compared to my 55-300. And the lens is heavy, but with the grip installed on my K-5 it balances out quite nicely. I also like to keep the tripod foot installed as it acts as a hand or palm grip. Another very nice feature is how the tripod foot is removed and installed so simply.

The IQ and rendering are nothing short of amazing. This is what you are paying for when you buy an expensive Pentax lens like this. While I normally shoot it at f5.6 for a bit more depth of field, you can shoot it all day long wide open at f4 and still get stunning images.

I have pretty much migrated to all prime lenses now, but this zoom will never leave. This is the most expensive lens I ever bought (so far) but I feel it was very well worth the cost and having to wait to save up for it. It is a down right shame that Pentax has been playing with the prices on this lens - as I write this it is back up to $2000.00 less a $100 rebate.

Highly recommended lens if you can get it for a decent price.
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2012
Posts: 177

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 21, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, contrast, bokeh, can hand hold it if necessary
Cons: Cost, a tad softer at 250mm
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

This lens is a no brainer if you don't need a f/2.8 and can use a f/4. I use it for a variety or reasons including shooting youth sports, wildlife, etc. It is weather resistant making it a natural companion to the K-5. The lens is great for portraits. I generally shoot at f/8, 1/160 under studio lights (I am an enthusiast who shoots family portraits) and the lens sees as sharp as my Sigma 70mm EX DG f/2.8 prime. For outdoor portraits, the bokeh is pleasant. Shooting wide open will give you enough background blur for headshots or 3/4 shots.

The learning curve is fast, and my real world IQ results seem to mirror the lab results from photozone.de. It has an excellent build, and zooms quietly and smoothly. The autofocus isn't perfect with fast moving subjects, but is certainly acceptable. CA and PF is pretty much a non-event. Although a monopod should be used with a big lens, you can hand hold it and get fine results with the in-camera IS turned on. For outdoor sports I generally shoot at 1/1000 wide open and have no issues with handholding it. This lens lives up to the hype.


(Non working links deleted)
   
Inactive Account

Registered: April, 2011
Location: near Berlin
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: January 27, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, fast AF, weather sealed, handling, build, tripod mount
Cons: maybe a bit heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

Very impressive lens that produces sharp pictures also wide open. I decided to pick this lens and sold my Tamron 70-200/2.8 and some other stuff. I really do not regret that. The AF ist fast on all my bodies and it fits in every situation. The tripod mount is really a masterpiece of crafting. There is not really a point to worry about except the too damped zoom ring. Maybe my sample was devoloped for the Hulk
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